MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: MARGARET NICHOLS

Happy Friday! Here’s what went down in Ruby’s Mystical Week, and an intro to the magical Margaret Nichols, founder of NYC’s Urban Oneness Blessing and truly cosmic coach. Her mission? “I want you to be enlightened. Like Buddha. Like NOW”…

Margaret Nichols: “A fashionista in kind trying to spread sparkle…”

Happy Friday Numis. So who’s counting the hours until Mercury goes direct at 2.17pm ET tomorrow? Despite going into this retrograde phase with some serious positive intentions, much like last week the past seven days have been characterised mainly by missed appointments and a total inability to concentrate on anything useful.

But it was also the week I attended a Dinner With The Dead, hosted by Mama Wolf Kelly Cutrone and spookily accurate psychic medium Thomas John :: caught up with the rest of the planet and started reading Lena Dunham’s brilliant memoir Not That Kind of Girl :: embraced the major drop in temperatures and got back into my local Bikram studio for my “winter” yoga season (my kind of central heating) :: and fell in absolute lust with Andrea Fohrman’s Moon phase jewelry (see below).

Moon Phase charm bracelet by Andrea Fohrman

I also interviewed this week’s Material Girl Margaret Nichols, and got a peek into her Mystical World. Margaret actually reached out to me about contributing to the site, sending a link to a post she wrote for the Huff Post titled Why Martinis and Meditation Mix. Hell yes! But when she talks meditation, this girl knows what she’s talking about.

A graduate of the Oneness University in India, Margaret has led a weekly Deeksha / Oneness Blessing in New York City since 2007. Billed as “spiritual solutions for your modern life,” Deeksha is a sanskrit word for gift. And the gift of the Oneness Blessing is a neurobiological change in the brain that, when complete, enables the senses to be free from the interference of the mind. Basically a different kind of Orgasmic Meditation, this is often accompanied by spontaneous feelings of joy, inner calm and a connection to the Oneness in everything. Yeah, you might want to check it out.

Margaret Nichols has led the Oneness Blessing in NYC since 2007

Plus she’s totally gorgeous, and is offering a FREE 21-day guided meditation course starting next week! This is her stuff…

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label: I love my fashion to be an expression of my environment and how I’m feeling, with a deep bow to all being sacred and shining our light. Right now there is probably more Yumi Kim in my closet than anything else. Fun, fresh and flirty with some edge. Fantastic silks that feel great on my skin.

My shoes: My feminine is truly expressed within my shoe collection (which is a gentle way of saying I have far more pairs of shoes than I actually need). Two more pairs have entered my closet within the last month. Luxe leopard print classic pumps? I feel like I will have these forever. If I’m spending or being gifted something of exquisite quality, I want it to be timeless on all fronts. And for every day easy Sole Society has super fun styles.

Leopard print pumps, Jimmy Choo

My fragrance: 10 years ago I bought a black jasmine oil in a Mysore marketplace in India and I haven’t been able to find it again since. If you find some, let me know! Bvlgari Black Jasmine is the closest I can find to it. (This and Trident gum are probably the only chemical things I regularly put in or on my body.)

My jewels: I recently travelled to see John of God and was so taken by the experience, I immediately ordered some earrings infused with the “Casa” energy from Brazil. Daily, it’s a mix between my mother’s gold bracelets (vintage) and my tulsi mala beads, blessed from Oneness University that I give out when I teach.

Tulsi mala beads

My pampering: Yana Herbal Beauty. I’ve been going to Yana (as have many notable New Yorkers) for 14 years. She gives the best facials (Russian-style: NO joke) in the city, with all handmade, natural ingredients and has amazing small batch, local, natural products to take home.

My movie: American Beauty, Amelie, Avatar. What the Bleep Do We Know was also a game changer for me when it came out.

My food: At home, I’m 90 percent vegan, all natural everything. Green juice daily for the better part of the last decade. Years ago, my best friend used to call me the most cleansed person on Earth. But I also love to travel and love to eat out and have gotten way more relaxed about it than I used to be. In my fridge on an average day you are most likely to find: avocado, raw coconut water, all sorts of greens from the farmer’s markets and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Juice Press raw coconut water

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening: Yerba Mate and some incense to clear the morning and say hello / tap into the Divine, before settling into Chakra Dhyana – a simple mediation that aligns all the chakras. I lead myself, depending on how much time I have.

My sign: Sagittarius. Through and through.

My mantra: In Sanskrit: Om Sat Chit Ananda – “I am existence, consciousness, bliss.” In life: “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

My healer: Vikaz. Whenever anything goes wrong, I process it out as much as I can, and then these guys are my first stop. As in, halt life, do not pass Go, visit immediately. They are incredibly intuitive miracle workers. Definitely not your traditional chiropractic.

My reading: Right now it’s Wild by Cheryl Stayed. Although not a “spiritual” book, I think her Tiny Beautiful Things should be mandatory reading for everybody on how to be a generous, beautiful person. Oneness by Rasha and Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda are also always nearby to be picked up.

My transformation: Oneness University in India is where are my teachers reside. It’s literally the magic kingdom and led me to everything. In NYC, Ashtanga Yoga New York with Eddie Stern and his crew of teachers offers authentic Mysore style self-practice of yoga. It’s about as advanced as you can get if you need it, although they welcome every level. It’s also home to the only Ganesh temple in all of Manhattan – an incredibly pure and absolutely gorgeous space and a rare sanctuary in Manhattan.

Visit AYNY.org

My home: West Village, pre-war details, cozy meets glam with a touch of the Far East and dosed with Love 24/7. If I could afford him, my bestie Adam Hunter would do my decor.

Find out more about Margaret and her work at Margaretnichols.com and @magsnichols

YOGI VEGAN LEZ: RELATIONSHIPS AND THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Meet Yogi Vegan Lez, a.k.a. Alexandra Roxo and her girlfriend Orian Barki. In the first chapter of a new series on the challenges of conscious modern coupling, is a road trip actually the best kind of couples therapy?

“Totally worth four breakups in an eight-hour drive”

Just like doing a cleanse together as a couple sounded like a great idea, so did taking a road trip. However, deciding what juice to buy and dribbling pulled oil down your t-shirt in front of your brand new girlfriend is nothing in comparison to being lost in the mountains of Colorado and encountering two large creepy bikers who “reallllllly want to take a photo with you” because “someone” didn’t listen to Siri.

Road trips are the real deal. Sure we live together in Brooklyn, but that’s different. Yoga down the street. $11 green juice by delivery. And our own little love den to nest in. But eight months in and our relationship could survive Mexican food from roadside vendors and lumpy beds, right?

The conversation came up when Orian and I found ourselves in New Mexico, working on a movie called Bare that my company Purple Milk is producing. Orian arrived from New York at the end of the most stressful week in my life, in which both of the lead actors pulled out and we had to recast it , all the while maintaining fake smiles to make all the other crew members not bail off.

I needed a time out, so the next day and we set off in a tiny rental with some Spiderman sleeping bags from the associate producer’s kids, blankets “borrowed” from our Air B ‘n B, and a bag of organic groceries – raw chocolate, kale chips, and Biodynamic red wine a-plenty. And then we headed in the direction of the nearest hot springs… okay spa. Come on, you gotta start a road trip to get back to nature somewhere!

When we arrived, our room was basically in the kitchen with a view of the dumpster. Fuck. I marched right back to reception with my fists in fighting position. But turns out they were booked solid with couples in their 50’s, most of whom were currently asleep in the “romantic” rooms that I had planned on having sex in that night. Orian decided to take over before I snapped and let my “lower self” take over.

By now I was openly sobbing in a leather armchair in a reception painted with “native art” – aka bows and arrows – surrounded by two children playing Angry Birds on an iPad and an elderly German couple sitting silently in flip flops and robes waiting for a shiatsu or something. They casually observed my tears as if I was the lobby fountain, and turned back to their spa menus.

The sweet manager finally offered us an equally impressive room with a bed practically in the center of the restaurant, but with an hour in a private hot spring, a bottle of wine and a whopping discount thrown in. Orian wanted to leave and go look for another place to stay, but I was set on a day of relaxation in the hot spring. I rested my weary my head on her shoulder and told her we had to make the best of it. She agreed. And instead of being grossed out by the overpriced airplane food in the restaurant and the hairy men ogling us in the hot tubs, we drank our wine under the stars and made the best of the bed.

“Apparently we have sensitive skin”

We drove away from the spa the next day with our faces red and splotchy from the free flowing sulphuric smelling mud we’d smeared all over ourselves before baking in the sun. I looked like a burn victim. It was only then I remembered I’d been using Retinol cream because I’m terrified of wrinkles and my Brazilian family swears by it (they also swear by plastic surgery, but whatever) and wasn’t supposed to go in the sun. I began to imagine my face peeling off a la Goldie Hawn in “Death Becomes Her,” pulled my oversized hat over my face and hid.

As we drove through southern Colorado, total silence descended on the car and paranoia began to set in. For some reason, we weren’t connecting. Our only conversation in hours had been a heated debate about google maps. Spiritually I look at things as effort vs. struggle – and so far, this was feeling like a lot of struggle. What happened to us having a blast doing everything together, from buying toothpaste to cleaning the toilet? Were those magic times over already?

Since we’d spent the past month apart, I chalked it up to the fact we needed some time for our energy to “sync” as a couple and tried to breathe despite the by now overwhelming anxiety and dry mouth. Tents, stars, and the enforced isolation camping allows would haaaave to bond us back together.

Now, I’m not new to camping. As a kid we couldn’t afford vacations and went camping one week every summer – my mom sometimes even brought the TV. As a teen I camped under a tarp in the Oregon woods for a week and foraged for berries at witch camp. And as a post-college “seeker,” I shit in a trough at a Rainbow Gathering next to rows of hippies with dreads and slept surrounded by people screaming from too many drugs in the wilds of West Virginia.

You get the picture – I’m no newbie to roughing it. But it was only as we neared Monument Valley where we planned to pitch up the next night that I realized I’d brought three pairs of platforms for the entire trip in lieu of any sensible footwear (I blame my overcrowded stress den of a mind when I was packing). So though Orian was dying to get camping already, we made a (emotionally fraught) decision: a well-choreographed stop-off at enemy no.1, Wal Mart.

As she’s from Israel and has only lived in the US for a year, spending most of her time in Brooklyn buying overpriced Ann Taylor linen from Polish vintage stores, Orian has never been to Wal Mart. And so I tried to warn her. “Look we go in. I get the imitation Keds. You grab the cooler. Out in 20, okay?” “Copy!” she relied, like the Israeli soldier she narrowly escaped becoming.

One and a half hours and $112.00 later we left, defeated, with six bags of crap. I sat in the car with my head in my hands, contemplating what had just happened as Orian insisted; “But we neeeeeeded the pink pepper spray, two glow in the dark t-shirts, an American flag bikini, six jugs of water just in case, and a copy of US weekly. We really did.” I got extremely annoyed in this moment and felt my skin begin to crawl, but told myself to calm the fuck down. And on we marched.

“Everything looks better in the photos”

We arrived to Monument Valley as the sun was beginning to set and decided on our camping spot, naturally choosing the one furthest from the trail so we could walk around in our underwear in peace. Our quest for solitude meant by the time we’d hiked our groceries, tent, firewood, camping chairs, tent, cooler, and our Wal Mart haul, the sun was nearly down. I decided to get our tent up as fast as I could, in which I am well practiced.

And maybe it was the drive, the trauma with the mud, or perhaps the lack of greens in my current diet? But I just couldn’t work it out. Which is when Orian stepped up to the plate and nailed it like an angel in a one-piece white American Apparel swimsuit. It was beautiful to watch. And as we drank our wine and watched the sun go down, it felt like things were finally beginning to gel.

I realized that this whole trip, being forced to make decisions about things like which non-organic snacks to buy had left Orian and I feeling like strangers. And our differing road trip priorities were distracting us from the point – the love we feel for each other. It’s rare for any couple to have time away from our obligations and responsibilities, and we needed to remember to just enjoy each other, regardless of the circumstances.

And as much as a week in Cabo or Tulum would have been more like the Valium my soul really needed, absorbing the epic beauty of Monument Valley I realized there’s a reason couples go on these quests together. Who wants a quick fix when it’s the road less travelled that brings growth? Trying three times to put a tent up together can be bonding. Really. Same for being forced to eat tacos made with GM corn from roadside vendors until the flatulence is just white noise.

“Even arguing about google maps can be bonding when it comes from the heart”

People go to couples therapy to confront their differences (like why the hell do you leave your shoes right outside the tent where I trip on them every day?) So here’s a tip for saving a shit-tonne of money. TAKE A ROAD TRIP. Get annoyed when your partner goes 60 mph or when they aren’t paying attention to google maps and miss the turn-off right when there’s no other turn off for like 100 miles. GO THERE. Don’t be afraid to let your girlfriend see you cry in public in at least three places in an attempt to get your way. Talk about a lesson in acceptance.

NEXT UP ON Yogi Vegan Lez: Navigating times of celibacy for ceremony….

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